The Air Force’s Alaska inventory of F-22 Raptors could soon rise by half a dozen jets, as the Pentagon redistributes stealth fighters which were damaged by Hurricane Michael at a Florida Air Force base.

In a Tuesday statement, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan hailed a recommendation from Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson that some of the Raptors formerly assigned to Tyndall Air Force Base be reassigned to squadrons in Alaska, Hawaii and Virginia.

Under Wilson’s plan, each squadron – including the Alaska-based 3rd Wing’s 90th and 525th Fighter Squadrons – would be increased from 21 to 24 aircraft by the transferred jets.

An overview of F-22 squadrons across the U.S. (From U.S. Government Accounting Office)

“Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson stands ready to support additional F-22s, and Alaskans stand proud in welcoming our new airmen and their families to our great state,” Sullivan said.

According to the Air Force Times, 17 Raptors stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base couldn’t be flown away before the hurricane arrived on Oct. 10. Most of the jets were quickly repaired, however.

A spokesman for Sullivan, Matt Shuckerow, said the exact numbers of F-22s to be transferred from Tyndall’s two squadrons has yet to be determined, but added that Wilson’s announcement is a promising sign.

“We haven’t seen specific numbers yet from the secretary of the Air Force,” Shuckerow said. “They’re moving forward on having those F-22s restationed permanently to other locations.”

Tyndall is recovering from the hurricane strike, and the Air Force plans to base three squadrons of the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter there.

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